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I have believed for quite a while that my great-great grandmother was Louisa BURROWS; I have a copy of her marriage certificate to my great-great-grandfather, Stephen CASTLE, and she was indexed as BURROWS. Her certificate is ambiguous – the ‘u’ in BURROWS could be an unclosed ‘a’. Yet I was not able to trace a birth record. I recently revisited this predicament, and believe I have solved it.

I took a pot luck and did a wildcard search online for Louisa B*RROWS, and struck gold. Various sources indicate Louisa BARROWS was born Q3 1852 in Stelling Minnis, and appears to be the daughter of George BARROWS and Mary SUTTON. This fits well, since a witness at Louisa’s wedding was one Jane SUTTON, possibly a cousin or aunt (yet to be determined). In 1861, Louisa was at the home of her SUTTON grandparents, but in 1871 was at her parents’ home, along with her grandfather, Henry BARROWS.

Marriage certificate of Louisa BARROWS

I can finally trace further back on my mother’s line …

Published in: Genealogy | on July 20th, 2010 | No Comments »

Norfolk beckons?

After trying so desperately to locate the family of my dad’s uncle Walter BALDOCK, I may have hit on something …

I had been searching Kent records (particularly Thanet, where they had lived) for marriage records, with no luck. I knew his wife was known as Jessie, but this could have come from anywhere. Nevertheless, I finally gained the patience to search systematically through Ancestry and FindMyPast.

And there I found it! Uncle Wally and Aunt Jessie were married in Norfolk  – Erpingham district, to be precise! Walter A BALDOCK married Jessie I ABRAM !

Now armed with a maiden name, I also found six daughters; we already knew the names of some, but this confirmed things, along with birth quarter-dates, a marriage and two grandsons. Of course, all this has yet to be verified.

I now hope to get the marriage certificate, and plan to further investigate the children to seek out possible marriages, further grandchildren, and maybe locate a family member living somewhere.

The Norfolk marriage is spooky, given my belief that the BALDOCK family may have some ancestry there. Maybe Jessie was from Norfolk? Or perhaps she was a Cromer seaside holiday romance?  The certificate will help …

Published in: Genealogy | on December 3rd, 2009 | No Comments »

Marriage of minors

No, I’m not talking about burly Welsh coal-face workers! Nor, for that matter, adolescents (necessarily). But I am talking “under-age”.

Many of you have probably already discovered via a marriage certificate the phrase “full age”. Whilst searching parish records you will almost certainly at some point come across the phrase “minor”.

Our ancestors considered “full age”, and thus anyone marrying at the age of 20, 19, 18, … could be considered a “minor”. Full age means they reached the age of majority i.e. they have become an adult. This used to be 21 but is now 18. That’s not to say, of course, that they weren’t adolescent:

“Before Hardwicke’s Marriage Act of 1753 there was no lower legal age of marriage, except during the 1650’s when it was 16 for men and 14 for women. In 1753 it was fixed at 14 for men and 12 for women and remained at that until the Age of Marriage Act 1929 when it was raised to 16 for both.”

Minors tend to be recorded alongside the consenting guardian/father(s).
Also, never forget that some people claimed to be of full age when in fact they were not!
Of course, this also differs from “age of consent” for matrimonial contracts and for sexual intercourse.
Check out the thread at for example. Much more information can be found from other sources too.

Published in: Genealogy | on April 29th, 2009 | No Comments »